India says launches strikes on militants in Pakistan, raising risk of escalation

An Indian army soldier patrols along a highway on the outskirts of SrinagarBy Sanjeev Miglani and Asad Hashim NEW DELHI/ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – India said on Thursday it had conducted "surgical strikes" on suspected militants preparing to infiltrate from Pakistan-ruled Kashmir, making its first direct military response to an attack on an army base it blames on Pakistan and raising the risk of escalation. Pakistan said two of its soldiers had been killed in exchanges of fire and in repulsing an Indian "raid", but denied India had made any targeted strikes across the de facto frontier that runs through the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir. The cross-border action inflicted significant casualties, the Indian army's head of operations told reporters in New Delhi, while senior government officials said Indian soldiers had crossed the border to target militant camps.



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Syrian rebel advance in Hama as army pushes in Aleppo

Rebel fighters of 'Al-Sultan Murad' brigade gather on the outskirts of the northern Syrian town of Shawa which is controlled by Islamic State militants, in Aleppo GovernorateSyrian insurgents made new advances to capture villages north of Hama on Thursday, rebels and a war monitor said, pressing a month-long offensive in an area of strategic importance to the government as it tries to seize insurgent-held Aleppo. The advance may distract from the offensive by the Syrian army and its allies, Shi'ite militias and Russia's air force, on rebel-held eastern Aleppo following a massive bombardment since a ceasefire collapsed last week. A Syrian military source said on Thursday that the air force had conducted strikes in a string of villages north of Hama that rebels have seized in recent weeks, adding that it had destroyed tanks and armored vehicles and killed "dozens of terrorists".



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